Subject: Positive Balance Sheet From Alkatiri Mozambique Visit

Positive Balance Sheet From Alkatiri Visit

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo) October 12, 2002


The Prime Minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri, has drawn up a positive balance sheet of his first official visit to Mozambique.

"This visit was a catalyst for two countries who are both still facing enormous difficulties", he told AIM on Friday. "My visit has opened space for dynamic cooperation at all levels".

Alkatiri was speaking after a visit to the General Union of Maputo Agricultural Cooperatives (UGC). Earlier on Friday he had toured the MOZAL aluminium smelter on the outskirts of the city.

Alkatiri said he was ending this visit, his first foreign trip since Timorese independence was formally proclaimed earlier this year, with a good impression of how Mozambique can be useful in helping build the young Timorese state.

"Mozambique is an example for the world of a peaceful transition to democracy", he said, adding that East Timor is interested in following the Mozambican example of national reconciliation, given the bloody events that preceded Timorese independence. Asked whether he had gained any useful lessons from his visit to the UGC's fields, Alkatiri said "We like to know that cooperatives like this can be successful".

The Timorese already had some experience of cooperative agriculture, but he thought his country could learn much from the UGC, which has been built up into a powerful organisation in a decade and a half of hard work. Alkatiri, who arrived on Wednesday, has held official talks with President Joaquim Chissano, Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi, and the chairman of the Mozambican parliament, Eduardo Mulembwe, all aimed at drawing up perspectives for future cooperation between Mozambique and East Timor.

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